University lectamacators are smarter than we

Because only a genius could do this …

So the centre is losing about $11,000 a week.

They’re losing that despite charging these rates.

It takes a special kind of genius to create a screw up of this magnitude.

But they seem to have forgotten that the point of childcare is to care for a child (keep up, this is tough stuff!)

This is the response when it is suggested that the university use private childcare:

Oh, so it’s about “equity”. No wonder it’s not working.

For the record, the cost charged by UNSW is about average for a childcare centre in Sydney. So why are they complaining about equity?

And these are the same people who wouldn’t take a 15 per cent pay cut to save their jobs but are now asking you to throw money at them so they can earn 100 per cent.

Quick question: are you still earning 100 per cent in the current environment? Hopefully you are, but probably not.

Australian barley has a new market

This is spectacular news.

Just days after the Chinese slapped an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley, killing the market for West Australian farmers, Australia has gained access to a new market: India.

This is a small trade at the moment – around 500,000 tonnes – but it is expected to double in the next year.

Based on current malt barley prices, the cost of preparing the grain for export and sea freight sales of that volume would mean a windfall of in excess of $180 million for the Australian barley industry based on current Australian port prices of $280/t.

For comparison:

  • Between 2015 and 2018, China imported, on average, 4.6Mt or A$1.3 billion of Australian barley accounting for over 70pc of Australia’s barley exports
  • Between 1 December 2019, and 31 March 2020, Australia shipped 666,092t of malting barley and 634,210t of feed barley to China, almost half of Australia’s barley export shipments which totalled 1.3Mt.
  • Projections about Australian barley exports in the current crop year put sales to China at 1.5Mt, compared with around 4Mt in an average year of Australian production.

You knew this was coming

From the minute JobSeeker was set at such a high rate it was clear that it would be used to lobby for increased welfare payments.

And so it has come to pass.

Lucy Turnbull is one such voice.

On Q&A, Lucy Turnbull, head of the Greater Sydney Commission, said it would be unthinkable to return JobSeeker to its old rate of pay, which effectively hasn’t been increased in more than 20 years.

There are renewed calls from across the spectrum of the community, from social services advocates to big business, to increase JobSeeker.

“My understanding is, I’m not an expert on this or have any specific knowledge, that there’s a discussion about where it should be, in between the pre-COVID amount versus $550, so the number will probably settle somewhere in between,” Ms Turnbull said.

“We’ve got to appreciate and value the need for people to have dignity at the same time as them being trained and skilled to be able to participate in the workforce if that’s possible.”

Hey, Albo, this hasn’t cost the taxpayer a cent

For the record (once again), the maths was correct, the numbers were wrong.

But here’s the thing about this “bungle” – it hasn’t cost the taxpayer a cent.

PVO is a turd

The human cost of the lockdown

The Breakdown has been highlighting the likelihood of increased suicides due to the economic catastrophe of the lockdown for weeks.

According to this paper from the American Institue for Economic Research, it is likely that drug deaths will increase due to the shutdown, they are largely up to conjecture, but suicide rates do seem to have a firmer footing:

The mental toll is not inconsequential. For example, Blakely, et al, (2003) find that being unemployed may also increase the risk of suicide two to threefold. Milner, et al. (2014) similarly finds that unemployment is associated with a higher relative risk of suicide, with prior mental health issues being a key factor in that association. While a study by Kerr, et al, (2018) did not find that unemployment is directly linked to suicides, it did find a significant link between poverty, suicide, and alcoholism.

When breaking the population into age groups, Lin and Chen (2018) do find that unemployment does have a direct impact on older portions of the population, the portion of the population many of the current shutdowns are most meant to protect. Whether it is the direct unemployment effect or the potential poverty produced from the economic shutdown that leads to greater suicides, an increase from the 48,344 suicides and 1,400,000 suicide attempts in the US in 2018 should give decision-makers pause during their response to this pandemic.

In reality, the deaths from suicide are already occurring:

Doctors in Northern California say they have seen more deaths from suicide than they’ve seen from the coronavirus during the pandemic.

“The numbers are unprecedented,” Dr. Michael deBoisblanc of John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, told ABC 7 News about the increase of deaths by suicide, adding that he’s seen a “year’s worth of suicides” in the last four weeks alone.

DeBoisblanc said he believes it’s time for California officials to end the stay-at-home order and let people back out into their communities.

“Personally, I think it’s time,” he said. “I think, originally, this was put in place to flatten the curve and to make sure hospitals have the resources to take care of COVID patients. We have the current resources to do that, and our other community health is suffering.”

Remarkably, Australia’s new deputy chief medical officer for mental health, Dr Ruth Vine, has sounded a cautionary note over a high-profile study predicting massive increases in suicide.

The survey she is referring to is by top academics from the University of Sydney who predicted a 25 per cent increase in suicide and has been seized upon by advocates in the call for greater mental health funding and real-time suicide data.

Worth the read.

Gil Scott-Heron (d 2011)